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Maria Repnikova

Assistant Professor    

University of Oxford (DPhil in Politics); University of Oxford (MPhil in Politics); Georgetown University (Bachelor in Foreign Service)


Global communication, political communication, media activism, China and Russia


Dr. Repnikova is a scholar of global communication, with a comparative focus on China and Russia. Her research examines the processes of political resistance and persuasion in illiberal political contexts, drawing on ethnographic research approaches and extensive time in the field. Maria holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She speaks fluent Mandarin, Russian and Spanish. The courses taught at GSU include International Communication, Chinese Media, Politics and Society, and Communication in Global Contexts.



Book Manuscript (Forthcoming Cambridge University Press)

Media Politics in China: Improvising Power under Authoritarianism theorizes about participatory channels under authoritarianism through the prism of the relationship between China’s critical journalists and the party-state in the past decade. Drawing on over 120 in-depth interviews with journalists, officials, and experts, it depicts their routine interactions, as well as their dynamics following national crisis events. The book portrays the relationship between the two actors a fluid collaboration, characterized by “guarded improvisation,” whereby the two actors make continuous creative adjustments in response to one another under the shadow of the party-state.


Peer-reviewed Publications and Working Papers

“The Party’s Shadow in China’s Journalism Education” (Forthcoming with China Quarterly).


“Propaganda during Crisis Events: A Case Study of Beijing Floods of 2012,” Journal of Contemporary China (Forthcoming)


“Social Media and the State in China,” in Sandra Gonzalez Bailon and Brooke Foucault-Welles (eds) Communication in the Networked Age (Oxford University Press: forthcoming)


‘Why Chinese Print Journalists Embrace the Internet’ (with Jonathan Hassid), Journalism (Forthcoming).

“Investigative Journalists’ Coping Tactics in a Restrictive Media Environment,” in Marina Svensson, Elin Sæther and Zhang Zhi’an (eds), Chinese Investigative Journalists’ Dreams (Lexington Books: 2014).


‘Migration between China and Russia’ (with Harley Balzer) Post-Soviet Affairs 26:1 (2010), pp. 1-37.


“China Learns from the Soviet Union: Contrasting glasnost with yulun jiandu” (under review).  

“State-Endorsed Accountability Mechanisms in Authoritarian Regimes: Media Feedback Role in China’s Official Discourse” (under review)

“Persuasion 2.0: New Modes of Digital Propaganda in China” (with Kecheng Fang) (under review).

Other Publications

“Media Oversight in Non-Democratic Regimes: The Perspectives of Officials and Journalists in China,” PARGC Paper 3 (Philadelphia: PARGC Press, 2015); available:

“Behind the Fall of China’s Greatest Newspaper” (with Kecheng Fang), Foreign Policy, January 29, 2015.

“Domestic Factors in China’s International Relations Discourse: Chinese Debates on the Role of Public Opinion,” The Asan Forum 2:2 (2014).

“China in Africa: A New Approach to Media Development?” (with Iginio Gagliardone and Nicole Stremleau) Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford University (August, 2010).

“Chinese Migration to Russia: Missed Opportunities,” (with Harley Balzer) Eurasian Migration Papers 3 (2009), Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.


“Google is returning to China? It never really left” (with Tim Libert), The Guardian, September 21, 2015.

“Is this China’s Chernobyl Moment?” OpenDemocracy, August 26, 2015.

Participated in ChinaFile Conversation on the Tianjin Explosion, August 18, 2015.

Interviewed by Politico magazine on China’s media coverage of US elections, July 3, 2015.

Interviewed by Al Jazeera English on China’s gains in Ukraine, March 15, 2014.

“Sochi 2014: Celebrating Authoritarianism” (with Elena Minina), Al Jazeera English, February 8, 2014.

“The Putin-Khodorkovsky Dichotomy: The Media Got it All Wrong” (with Elena Minina), Al Jazeera English, December 29, 2013.

Interviewed by AFP for a report on Bo Xilai and China’s historical memory, June 10, 2013 (Carol Huang, “China Expunges Bo’s Once Stellar Reputation,” AFP News, August 4, 2013).

Interviewed by BBC News for a report on Chinese media, May 12, 2013 (Celia Hatton, “How a Chinese Journalist Took on a Top Official,” BBC News, May 14, 2013)

“China’s Journalists Are No Revolutionaries,” The Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2013

“China’s Xi Inherits New Approaches to Changing Media Landscapes,” World Politics Review, November 15, 2012.